Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bishop's March 14th Statement on the HHS Mandate

I wanted to highlight parts of the statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding the HHS mandate. This statement was released on March 14, 2012.  The portion I want to highlight talks about what the debate is and isn't about from the perspective of the Catholic Church.
This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church's hand and with the Church's funds.  This is not about religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block.  This is not about the Bishops' somehow "banning contraception," when the U.S. Supreme Court took that issue off the table two generations ago.  Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church--consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions--to act against Church teachings.  This is not a matter of opposition to universal health care, which has been a concern of the Bishops' Conference since 1919, virtually at its founding.  This is not a fight we want or asked for, but one forced upon us by government on its own timing.  Finally, this is not a Republican or Democratic, a conservative or liberal issue; it is an American issue. 
All the "talking points" of the current administration, their apologists and the media are trying to frame this debate in terms of supposed misogynistic, controlling men trying to take away contraception availability and universal healthcare.  You have read it from the Bishops themselves that this is not the case.

A particular religion's belief system is not really the business of someone who is not striving to follow that particular system of belief.  It really isn't anyone's concern if a woman should choose to wear a head covering, refrain from using birth control, or decide to have more than 1 or 2 children.  Those who are members of a belief system have an obligation to educate themselves on the tenants of that belief.

As Americans, we need to fight for the religious freedom of all our fellow citizens, no matter what their religious beliefs. We all need to continue to fight for the right to follow our own well-formed consciences and not to belittle the beliefs of others.

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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